UMich claims free speech lawsuit has ‘mistaken premises’

The University of Michigan is vowing to fight back against a lawsuit accusing the school of using its harassment and “bias” policies to stifle free expression on campus.

In a statement posted on its website, the university strongly denies the claims made in a lawsuit filed earlier in the month by Speech First, which challenges the school’s Bias Response Team and contends that UMich “has a disciplinary code that prohibits ‘harassment’ and ‘bullying,’ and increases the penalties if such actions are motivated by ‘bias.’”

The Speech First lawsuit specifically cites the school’s Bias Response Team as “a grave threat to free expression at the University,” saying it is “unconstitutional under the doctrines of overbreadth, vagueness, and prior restraints.”

However, UMich claims that Speech First “mischaracterized” its policies and programs, asserting that Speech First has framed the policies in a way that “does not reflect the true vibrancy of debate and discussion on campus,” and insisting that “there is nothing in university policy that inhibits students from expressing their views on any topic.”

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